Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Sunday inaugurated Adama Industrial Park, located 74 km southeast of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.
The industrial park, built by China Civil Engineering Construction Company, is part of the Ethiopian government's grand plan to transform the country's largely agrarian economy into an industrialized one by 2025.
Covering 100 ha of land and built at a cost of around $146 million, Adama Industrial Park is expected to create job opportunities for around 25,000 Ethiopians.
The industrial park, designed and built with international standards, has integrated facilities including clinics, fire services, a market center, a bank, cafes and exhibition facilities.
"The inauguration of the Adama Industrial Park is crucial to meeting the industrialization needs of Ethiopia and fulfilling the employment and human resources development of our higher education graduates," Prime Minister Ahmed told the inauguration ceremony.
Ahmed said that with his administration's political reforms undertaken since April almost complete, the focus from now on will be to meet the economic needs of the country's estimated 105 million citizens.
Emphasizing the Adama Industrial Park's strategic location, Ahmed said its close proximity to the Chinese-built 756 km Ethiopia-Djibouti electrified rail line and the 99 km Addis-Adama toll expressway will ensure that the industrial park will be a successful addition to the country's manufacturing ambitions.
Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Tan Jian shared the prime minister's assessment of the new industrial park.
The east African country's focus on building industrial parks, coupled with good economic policies and strong economic growth, is evidence that it wants to transit from an exporter of primary agricultural products and raw materials to a sophisticated, industrialized economy.
Ethiopia has so far commissioned five industrial parks and plans to commission six others during the current Ethiopian fiscal year 2018/19, which started on July 8.
"Despite recent economic pains, Ethiopia's economic future is definitely bright as shown by the completion of five industrial parks, with the latest being Adama," Tan said.
"Chinese firms prioritize human resources development, as it is more important than financial and natural resources. Chinese cooperation with Ethiopia emphasizes synergizing with the east African country's human resource development ambitions to build a shared bright future for both countries," the ambassador said.
The commissioning of Adama Industrial Park will be a welcome addition to boost the Belt and Road Initiative, Tan added.
Arkebe Equbay, special adviser to Prime Minister Ahmed, said the industrial park's commissioning is one giant step forward to meet the country's manufacturing ambitions.
Adama industrial park is expected to attract firms engaged in textile, apparel and machinery production sectors.
"Adama Industrial Park has already attracted investors from China and South Korea, raising hopes for other industrial parks that are being built by the Ethiopian government and private developers will have little problem attracting investors," Equbay said.
He said the construction of industrial parks is part of the government's efforts to structurally change the economy to make it competitive globally.
"Ethiopia is working to resolve issues with intermittent electricity supply, has recently opened its logistics sector to foreign investment and is modernizing its banking and customs services to meet international standards of companies investing inside industrial parks," Equbay said.
(Xinhua News Agency, October 8, 2018)